Virtual Reality activations engaging over 10,000 participants

What we’ve learned from Virtual Reality Activations

There is no doubt Virtual Reality is one of the big tech trends, one area where VR technology is having a huge impact is Marketing Activations, Events and Sponsorship.  The hugely immersive and interactive nature of VR has enabled Sporting Teams, Brands and Rights Holders to engage consumers and create memorable experiences like never before.

At Catalyst we’ve worked on some brilliant VR activations developing content and technology solutions enabling consumers to participate in Virtual Reality activations as part of Big Bash Cricket, Taste of Melbourne and with brands including Moet Hennessy and TAB.

After engaging over 10,000 participants in Virtual Reality Activations these are the nine big things we’ve learned;

1. It’s all still so new!

Virtual Reality has generated so much publicity it would be impossible not to have seen, read or heard about VR. But the reality is very few people have actually used a VR headset – for almost every participant across all the events and activations we’ve run its usually the first time they have used a VR headset. This partly why it is so interesting and so exciting.

2. Make it multi-sensory add participation.

While a VR headset can visually take the user into a virtual world there are great ways to add to the activation experience. At Taste of Melbourne while users watched Sean Quade create in signature Meyer Lemon Desert in VR the activation area was filled with lemon scents helping transport the user to the orchard with Sean.

3. Expect big reactions.

There are plenty of great reactions to VR on the internet already – we could have created an entire YouTube channel on the responses we’ve seen. The power and immersion of VR is real and it makes for great theatre at events as people respond to the VR experiences. It’s also great Social content to share as part of event coverage.

4. VR appeals to (almost) everyone.

From activations with the Sydney Sixers where hundreds of kids faced a bowl from Josh Hazelwood or Elyse Perry to sophisticated Whiskey drinkers at VR events for Moet Hennessy VR has wide appeal and everyone is keen to have a go!

5. Entertain or Educate.

Virtual Reality activations have become a key part of events, in some cases being a major part of the entertainment and enjoyment on the day. But as well as entertaining VR can be a very effective way to share information. As part of adTech 2017 we developed content guiding viewers through the latest VR production techniques and processes, the activation was hugely popular and gave participants benefits beyond the VR experience in terms of learning and development.

6. VR Activations can be scaled up or down.

We’ve developed and run VR technology solutions for activations at major events with multiple headset and thousands of participants all the way down to intimate, invite only events with a single VR Station. In each case the VR technology is designed to maximise the user experience and work within the event location.

7. Share the Content.

With the huge interested in VR most participants are keen to relive the experience they’ve had or share it with Family and Friends. Brands and Sponsors should always make sure the VR content is available on web or Social pages so people can watch the content on their phones or computers. As part of Saddle Up With TAB participants could get a link sent to their phones so they could watch the VR content.

8. Mirror or Not, that is the question.

In regard to VR activations one of the considerations is to mirror what the participant is seeing on a TV screen or monitor. Mirroring is more engaging for others at the event as they can see what the participant is viewing and helps explain why they are reacting like the are, however it does spoil the surprise for the next person. So depending on how important the element of surprise is you may want to reconsider mirroring…

9. Data collection made easy.

Keeping in contact with consumers after an event can be challenging however the positive response that VR activations receive make it much easier to collect data, particularly if consumers are given the chance to receive more VR content or relive the experience they have just had.

10.    Tell a story.

One of the biggest missed opportunities with VR content is when content is presented without a narrative. It isn’t enough to simply rely on the medium of VR to make the experience, viewers need to be taken on a journey and come out the other end feeling like they’ve learnt or experienced something unique. The VR medium works best when you either place the viewer in someone else’s shoes or take them somewhere they’d struggle to go themselves.

Media Release: Sydney Sixers AR Launches with Newspaper Collaboration

Joint Media Release by the Sydney Sixers and Catalyst VR on the launch of Sydney Sixers AR ahead of BBL07.

Is Virtual Reality L&D’s Best New Tool?

Is Virtual Reality L&D’s Best New Tool?

Virtual Reality is transforming tourism, retail and sports by creating immersive experiences and engaging users with new content. In the same way, VR is becoming a powerful tool to improve Employee Learning and Development.

In perhaps the biggest sign of how VR is impacting Learning and Development, the world’s largest private employer Walmart, has announced it will be rolling out VR Employee Training by the end of 2017.

At Catalyst we’ve worked on L&D Virtual Reality projects including an interactive VR experience for Pernod Ricard UK to assist market and consumer understanding. Created a Virtual Reality experience for Medibank on company culture and values, and a VR project for Group M as part of their Graduate Program.

Simulating a user in a virtual environment is what makes VR such a powerful tool for L&D. It is an extremely immersive experience, much more engaging than traditional media and as a result helps people learn new concepts faster and retain information better.

Examples of how Virtual Reality can be used for learning and development include;

  • Training staff on specific situations. (Heights or confined spaces in the mining industry)
  • Customer or consumer empathy. (Placing staff in the shoes of your customers)
  • Equipment and procedural training. (Heavy Machinery or Medical Procedures)
  • Health and Safety. (Fire and Evacuation Plans)
  • Sales and Marketing. (Role Plays, Public Speaking)
  • Education. (Virtual Classrooms and Tutorials)

If you are interested in learning more about how you could use Virtual Reality for Learning and Development please don’t hesitate to get in contact. Email or call 0424 044 721.

VR And Financial Brands: Big Rewards for Early Adopters


Jessica Gilroy our Director of Client Services was recently interviewed by Susan Burchill from Agent99 about the potential applications and opportunities for Virtual Reality within the Financial Industry, here is an exerpt from the interview which is published on

What are some of the greatest hurdles facing finance brands, and how can VR or AR help?

It’s no secret that the financial services industry struggles to form emotional connections with existing and prospective customers. As a financial services marketer, your role is to entice customers away from your competitors and strengthen long-term relationships with your existing customers. Forging a strong connection between the consumer and your institution’s brand and services is critical.

Many companies often overlook the importance of placing themselves in their customers’ shoes in order to truly understand their problems, needs, and circumstances. For a bank, this could include issues such as the length of time it takes to travel into a branch or how to make sense of often complex and confusing financial information.

Much of the financial information disseminated to consumers via email or brochures can be complicated or even boring and results in a disconnect between financial brokers, advisers or consultants and their customers.

The finance industry has already begun experimenting with VR and AR technologies in a variety of ways to make their content and processes more engaging for their employees and customers. Some of the applications being used include: virtual trading, virtual reality payments, virtual data visualisation and creating virtual branches.

What are some examples?

Wells Fargo was one of the earliest adopters of VR as a marketing tool. Back in 2015 they launched a virtual reality game within an experiential marketing campaign designed to entice new customers to the bank. The campaign offered an engaging virtual maze game which included social media components designed to strike up conversations and secure new customers down the road. The initiative foretold the current ambitions of many banks to create a more tech savvy and engaging brand experience.

From a virtual trading perspective, Swissquote Bank is a great example of a company leaping ahead of their competitors. As Switzerland’s leading online bank, they were looking for a way to better engage their traders and provide them with easily digestible information to improve their decision-making abilities. They recently launched an innovative VR trading application, to be used by traders wearing VR headsets. The VR app enables users to access financial information in real time, through the medium of VR. Once the trader enters the virtual trading platform, they are surrounded by a 360° trading wall with multiple sections dedicated to their market.

For an example of virtual branches, there’s FGB, one of the leading banks in the UAE. In November 2016 FGB released the first, truly immersive banking experience in a virtual reality setting, along with an innovative banking app. The VR application allows customers, using VR headsets, to interact with objects placed throughout an FGB branded virtual world. These objects provide information about products and services, like credit cards and their banking platform.

Data visualisation using VR is another popular way to utilise the technology. Fidelity Labs, a part of Fidelity Investments, has used Oculus Rift technology to create a virtual world called StockCity. In StockCity, stock portfolios are turned into a virtual 3D city, where investors can immerse themselves in the data and view it in a way that is totally unique but easy to make sense of.

What are the opportunities for financial services to gamify their interactions and applications, learning from gaming and entertainment-led VR?

The biggest adopters of VR are millennials and in Australia millennials currently make up 26% of the population, with that predicted to rise to almost 75% by 2025. Millennials are also the finance sector’s biggest target market, with banks and financial institutions constantly looking for better ways to engage with the millennial consumer. The issue is, that millennials expect to conduct their business relations online or via mobile rather than visiting a branch, with many now preferring to do business with non-banks and start-up financial providers.


Millennials are also used to engaging with information in an exciting and interactive way. VR offers the chance to add a level of gamification into the way financial marketers engage with the end consumer – for instance, via an app where customers are invited to answer specific questions to earn additional points on their frequent flyer cards.

Gamification adds both an element of fun and competition to a marketing strategy. The theory behind the use of these types of techniques is that they create an emotional connection with the audience which leads to a longer, stronger relationship as opposed to simple brand awareness.

Should financial institutions be experimenting with VR and augmented reality now, or wait till it matures?

Many financial institutions are already utilising AR and VR to step ahead of their competitors and better engage their customers, so now is the time.

MasterCard recently partnered with Wearality to create a series of virtual shopping environments where consumers can view and purchase products without having to enter a store. Their virtual reality golf experience allows players to see golf clothes modelled on virtual golfers out on the green, which they can then purchase from within the same virtual environment.

Citi have already begun utilising Microsoft HoloLens to give their traders Holographic Workstations, which incorporate both 2D and 3D elements to help make sense of financial information within their physical environment.

Meanwhile Comarch uses virtual reality in their wealth management software to give users better access to algorithms and trading tools.

What are the risks of not getting on board the immersive revolution early enough?

With the launch of any new technology, failure to embrace the latest tools and techniques tends to result in companies falling behind their competitors. Many financial institutions are risk adverse and hesitant to try something new when it is seemingly untested. However, the companies with a reputation for innovation are often the ones reaping the rewards, and when it comes to AR and VR there are now enough examples out there to show that where the technology is being used, it significantly benefits both employees and consumers.

What seems like a novel experiment today could be part of our everyday banking experiences of tomorrow.

The Emerging Technologies PR Needs to Prepare For

The Emerging Technologies PR Needs to Prepare For,

This is a guest post by Sharon Zeev Poole from Agent99 PR, find them at

In the world of PR, information can change minute to minute.  Therefore, it’s no surprise that when technology changes, we change with it. 2017 has already been a revolutionary year for technology and with the latest predictions and trends, there are certain releases that we definitely need to keep up with.

Agent99 has been monitoring the tech field and scoping out the most useful new announcements for all PR professionals out there. With constant new ways to connect with audiences and keep up, these emerging technologies should be definitely be on the radar.

  1. Virtual Reality – Hit the mainstream in 2016 and this year we can expect to see even more marketers and PR agencies turning to VR and 360 video to communicate their message and connect with their target audience in this unique way. It’s now possible to film, animate and produce 8k quality VR experiences that look fantastic and are breathtakingly real.
  2. Augmented Reality – First garnering mass attention with Pokémon Go, augmented reality (AR) has moved onto other industries – most recently the real estate industry. Users of the AR app, Property ViewAR, can scan their future homes without even stepping foot inside of them. This could change the way PR pros publicize events and stunts. Imagine AR of the venue and AR press kits where influencers can use an app to find information and gifts online. It’s an entirely new playing field. It could mean more personalized publicity and experiences, as well as more in-depth views of a client’s world, connecting them even further to the consumer.
  3. Live Video – Though not new to 2017, social media platforms have been rapid fire to include live video in their experiences. A February 2017 Cisco report has predicted that, “Mobile video will increase 9-fold between 2016 and 2021, accounting for 78 percent of total mobile data traffic by the end of the forecast period”. Facebook Live is now a source for news sites to gather eyewitness accounts. Live video is officially on Instagram and has been making the rounds online, keeping influencers and brands connected with their audiences on a level that is as close to personal as it gets without being in the same room.
  4. Internet of Things – the 1999 hit Disney film, Smart House, did not prepare us properly for the rapid advancement of everyday technology in our normal lives. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the connectivity of “smart devices” to everyday objects. We’re seeing these objects in Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home. Devices that can control your lighting, sound, and security system just by the sound of your voice. Now PR pros should begin considering how these “everyday items” fit into the lives of their audiences. There are new ways to share information and integrate your message into a consumer’s home. It’s ground-breaking technology, potentially in your kitchen.
  5. Not-com – Traditional domain extensions are officially a thing of the past. Websites can now purchase domains that veer from the original ‘.com’ and ‘.net’. In 2014 the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) rolled out the first not-com extensions. For businesses and bloggers this opens up a whole world of possibility when creating websites. These new web names are creative, unique, and gaining popularity through influencing multimedia personality Katie Linendoll who hosts a tech podcast under the domain, “”. Google has even published FAQs on these new domain endings assuring the public that these not-coms will not affect a website’s search ranking. This revolution can completely change how your audiences perceive your brand.

We’re always thrilled to see exciting new technologies that can be used to amplify PR even further, and the new developments being released every passing day are simply mind-blowing. As creativity and big ideas continue to dominate the PR and Marketing spaces, it has never been more important to implement these new developments to knock consumers’ (and our clients’!) socks off. Be sure to keep an eye out, as it can only get more exciting from here!

About Agent99 PR

Agent99 PR was founded in January 2007, and over the past decade, has represented clients in the consumer, lifestyle and corporate industries, working with Evian, MTV, William Grant & Sons, Buderim Ginger, the Hunter Valley region and many more.

Agent99 is a highly-creative agency trusted by some of Australia’s most loved brands to build their profile, manage their reputation and deliver bold brand campaigns that capture national attention and make audiences sit up, take notice, and act.

Why should I use VR as part of my campaign?

Why should I use VR as part of my campaign?

Virtual Reality hit the mainstream in 2016 and this year we can expect to see even more marketers, advertisers and event organisers turning to VR and 360 video to communicate their message and connect with their target audience.

But why should brands start looking to VR and 360 video as their chosen marketing vehicle? Let’s explore:

Virtual Reality has really taken off due to three big factors that occurred over the past two years. Firstly, the technology finally caught up with the promise. From a filming and editing perspective we can now film, animate and produce 8k quality VR experiences that look fantastic and are breathtakingly real. From a hardware perspective, VR headsets such as the Samsung Gear VR, Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are easy to use and above all affordable, so brands, events and the everyday consumer can now easily purchase a headset to begin watching and interacting with the best VR content out there.

Secondly, people and brands are creating great content! Some examples include the New York Times who created their own VR App NYT VR and have been releasing compelling news, sport and lifestyle related 360 video and VR content on a regular basis. Google are also getting behind VR with their App Google Spotlight Stories and these are just two of the many companies focused on creating immersive 360 and VR content.

And that leads me on to my third point; that there are now so many ways to interact with 360 videos and VR. Anyone can upload 360 content to YouTube and Facebook which can be viewed on mobile, tablet or desktop. YouTube now has the functionality to make 360 content compatible with any Google Cardboard device for easy VR content consumption.

Another great reason to look at VR is to do with storytelling. Brands ultimately want to connect with the consumer in a way that is meaningful and leaves a lasting impression. The problem with traditional 2D video is that there is often a translation gap between what you see on the screen and what you believe to be true. Virtual reality content allows you to place the consumer inside the narrative, allowing them to live your brand story and take a journey that is fully immersive and far more engaging. People talk about VR being an empathetic medium, as you can literally walk in someone else’s shoes just as you do in the UN’s Clouds Over Sidra. They talk about it being engaging and exciting, and if you’ve ever jumped off a cliff or out of a plane in VR then you know just how much of an adrenalin ride VR can be.

Finally, the results speak for themselves. There are countless case studies like this one by Google and Columbia Sportswear which compares 360 video content to traditional 2D content and concludes that 360 outperforms 2D on nearly every metric but especially on engagement and sharing. VR has also been proven to improve sales; just look at how Amnesty utilised VR content to increase their on-the-ground donations by 16%.

So why aren’t more brands investing in 360 and VR? It’s a good question. Many brands have already taken the plunge and are reaping the rewards, but my guess is that those yet to follow simply don’t fully understand the medium. Misconceptions I regularly hear include concerns around price, quality and distribution. Many think that when creating a VR experience it can only be viewed through a VR headset. On the contrary, we always suggest clients upload their content as a 360 video to Facebook, YouTube or their own website. The ultimate experience is through a headset but 360 videos play amazingly well online and can still produce a memorable and individual experience for the viewer.

It’s exciting to see the way VR has been utilised by so many industries already; travel, journalism, education, health care, architecture and marketing have all been embracing VR and the applications and uses for VR seem to be endless, with new industries adopting VR daily. Our prediction is that just as you had to make your site responsive for mobile, so too will you have to make it responsive for VR. So why not get ahead of the curve and create your first piece of VR today?

Everything you need to know about 360 video across Digital Platforms and Devices

Everything you need to know about 360 video across Digital Platforms and Devices

Updates to the Apple IOS, YouTube App and Google’s VR View tool mean that 360 videos can now be played on mobile (IOS or Android), tablet and desktop devices across web and social media pages.

With research showing how much higher engagement and sharing is for 360 video, plus the opportunity to fully immerse viewers using a VR headset, the question amongst media producers is now being asked – if you’re no longer producing content for TV or Cinema and instead want to focus on digital, then why wouldn’t you create a 360 video?

Still unsure about how you can use 360 video across digital platforms and devices, below is our guide to the different options.


Mark Zuckerberg and the team at Facebook have long championed Virtual Reality. In 2015, they acquired Oculus and their VR headset device for $2 billion, shortly after the companies kick starter campaign had raised $2.5 million to get the headset off the ground. Seeing the potential for VR and the user experience, the Facebook platform enabled 360 video playing ‘in the feed’ on both mobile and browser.


360 Videos on YouTube play in the browser, allowing the viewer to click and drag to explore the full 360 environments. On mobile or tablet the YouTube App allows the user to view a 360 video by pointing the device in the direction they would like to look, alternatively they can use their finger to drag the screen to reposition.

VR View

Developed by Google, VR View allows web developers to embed 360 videos into webpages. The technology enables the same functionality for 360 videos as YouTube. Visitors to a site can view a 360 video by click and dragging so they can explore the 360 video without leaving the site.

VR Headsets and Google Cardboad

Originally developed for headsets, this is how 360 videos are best viewed and what turns the content into virtual reality! Headsets give the viewer the freedom to easily explore the 360 environments and immerse themselves in the experience. 360 videos can be played across any VR headsets as well as inexpensive Google Cardboard headsets.

What’s Next??

With 360 videos now playable across platforms and devices perhaps the bigger challenge for content creators is not should they produce a 360 video. Rather how do they build a communication strategy around a 360 video that includes social, digital and headsets.

The dubs: How VR is helping the finance sector reinvent customer experience


Great article from Financial Content Marketing Agency, The Dubs,

As part of the article our Creative Director Theo was asked about the future of VR finance; “VR is changing the way people view and interact with their finances. As financial institutions look for better ways to engage customers, VR can bridge the gap no matter where in the world the customer is.”

Read the full article here;

The 6 Advancements that made 2016 a big year for Virtual Reality

2016 was a riveting year for the VR enthusiast and curious. It seemed like every week there was a new piece of tech, or an app announced, that was bringing VR out of Sci-Fi books and into stores and popular culture. Let’s take a look back at this year of progress and break down the massive advancements we saw.

1. Tilt Brush

Google always seems to be doing something amazing. But there is amazing – and there is Amazing. Which one is Tilt Brush? I’m going with AMAZING!

Tilt Brush is selling on Steam for about $15 USD. This incredible game lets you paint in 3D in a virtual reality world.

To say this is just a novel game is a massive oversight. So many industries can benefit from this kind of tech; architecture, graphical design, engineering, civil planning, just think of all the applications. Take a look at some of the incredible works of art that have been created with this game and tell me it isn’t going to change the world.

2. YouTube 360

YouTube 360 is just a novel way to look at a photo on a smartphone, until you combine it with a VR headset.

Recently, Google Cardboard started to support YouTube 360 videos and suddenly we turned a corner. Essentially with a cheap bit of cardboard and a mobile device that millions of people already own, Google/YouTube managed to bring affordable VR video into the day to day life of ordinary people.

Is this is the beginning of VR cinema? Imagine how differently we will be able to tell stories when the audience can choose where to look. We aren’t that far away now.

3. Oculus Rift

What started as a Kickstarter campaign, all the way back in 2012, was released to the consumer market on the 28th of March 2016 and it is one of the most affordable tethered VR Headsets on the market. It was released as a sexy, slim plastic black unit, lightyears ahead of the clunky development kits. Retailing at $599 USD that is a small price to pay for two 1080×1200 windows into the future.

I am really excited to see where the oculus rift takes us. Will it go down in history as the beginning of consumer VR? It certainly seems like it is here to stay, in fact an Xbox streaming app (that streams games from the console to the Oculus Rift) was announced just before Christmas. The app is downloaded for free from the Oculus store but the Oculus Rift is a tethered VR, so you will still need a powerful computer capable of powering the Rift and whatever you are streaming to it.
Oculus Rift now also comes with hand controllers officially called the Touch. They are small ergonomic (hand shaped) controllers will all kinds of buttons that allow Oculus Rifters to interact with their new digital world.

4. HTC Vive Follows Oculus Through the Rift.

The HTC Vive is incredible. There is no way around it. It was officially released on the 5th of April, which demonstrates how fiercely competitive the VR industry is already becoming; the Rift only had a monopoly for a month before something new came along. A VR system every 30 days probably isn’t going to become a trend, but the more companies that dive into VR the better for us tech loving consumers.

HTC Vive has a partnership with Valve. Valve are an American game developer that have released some games titles like, Dota, Counter Strike, Left 4 Dead, Half Life, Portal, and most importantly they own Steam. This puts HTC in a great position to dominate the VR gaming industry.

HTC hasn’t limited the Vive to a 180 degree view like the Oculus Rift. It comes with two base stations that receive signals from all the sensors on the Headset. This allows players to move around, face any direction, and explore their environment. Just before you are about to step out of your designated space and potentially trip over your living room, you will see a faint blue line warning and confining you to the gaming area.

5. Playstation takes gaming to the next level with VR

The Playstation VR is the cheapest tethered option on the market and is doing its part to normalize strapping TV glasses to your face by already selling over 2 million headsets worldwide since it’s release in October.

The Playstation VR is tethered to the PS4 and Sony has also already released a lot of hardware that will complement the system. The Playstation move remotes are a few years old now, but they entice Playstation owners who have already made these purchases to just commit to the future of gaming.

I think that the Playstation VR will make a decent contribution to VR. It is a cheap headset that doesn’t require a gaming computer, millions of people are going to buy it, and this is just zeros on paper for companies looking to get involved and sink resources in developing cool headsets for us. The Playstation VR will also entice game designers familiar with the console to try their hand at VR game development.

6. Microsoft Hololens

While only the developer edition was released this year, I think we can still count it towards the running tally of 2016’s amazing VR achievements. The Microsoft Hololens currently cost a decent $3000 for the consumer kit and $5000 for the developer kit. Who would buy this? Well it isn’t being marketed to gamers. The Microsoft Hololens is targeting companies, specifically design firms and dads that really want to impress their kids with rocket models, if Microsoft’s hype video is anything to go off.

Microsoft says that the Hololens mixes realities, because it projects images onto a transparent screen in front of the wearer’s eye. You will still see the real world, but it will have a digital layer of information on top of it. This is augmented reality which is awesome in its own right, but if the Hololens is anything to go off, still a little too expensive and a few years away.

Several companies have approached Microsoft wanting to join forces and produce some mind blowing VR. Samsung and
Asus have an open proposal to pool their millions on a similar augmented reality product, but Microsoft has shown little to no interest.

It really was a big year for VR.  Three tethered headsets have set the benchmark very high.  This, as well as some new software has helped take VR out of the Sci-Fi books and made it dinner time conversation.

What was your favourite VR breakthrough in 2016??

The Best VR Headsets That You Can Buy Right Now

Virtual reality is the future. It’s a bold claim, but I am going to come right out and make it. Whatever your reservations are about the technology, maybe you don’t want to wear glasses-like-things over your face, or you are just afraid of humanity’s growing dependence on screens, it is happening. People were hesitant to adopt the TV and then the computer and then the smart phone. They told their children they should just play outside like they did growing up. And look what happened. My daughter learnt to use an IPad before she could walk.

But seriously, let’s get down to brass tacks. If you have made it this far you are probably cultivating an interest in VR. You want to experience it for yourself and find a way to include this technological marvel into your life. Well, until we start implanting computers into people’s brains, or wearing futuristic contact lenses, your options are limited to wearing a headset.

Best Mobile VR Headsets

Mobile VR headsets basically just hold your smart phone up to your face and block out the real world, so your only sensory input comes from the screen. They are the cheapest form of VR, and you can even make one yourself.

Google Cardboard

Google Cardboard is a line of VR Headsets made to a set of specifications. If a mobile VR Headset carries the Google Cardboard badge, then it will work with all the apps developed on the Google Cardboard platform. You can even build your own headset to the specifications at this URL:


Price: $5 – $40 + a compatible smartphone.

Compatibility: A lot of phones. The Google Cardboard app can be downloaded onto Android and iOS. Therefore, what determines a phone’s compatibility is if it fits in the headset. Rule of thumb, if a phone has a screen size between 4.7- and 5-inch it will probably work. Samsung Galaxy S5 and iPhone 6 are both supported and an updated version called cardboard 2.0 supports larger phones – Note 5 and iPhone 6S and 6S Plus.


I was surprised how well Google Cardboard works. It provides a pretty decent VR experience with nothing but lenses and cardboard. Sure, it doesn’t feel as stable on your head, and the cardboard won’t last as long as other materials, but still that is impressive. A big drawback is that there is no way to navigate an app without taking the phone out the headset. Any app that needs more than one button is going to be very difficult to use, but for the price it is amazing what this headset can accomplish. If you are a proud super nerd, like myself, there is a definite appeal to this striped back version of VR. The platform has a lot of apps and VR is exploding in the Google Play store. There are new games and applications every week. My favourite app is a VR cinema application that lets you watch movies on a screen so big it is like you are in your own private cinema. This app, like most of the others, is a little buggy, but if you want to be at the forefront of VR and not pay an arm and a leg for the privilege, Google Cardboard is the way to go.

Samsung Gear VR

Samsung Gear VR is a VR Headset compatible with most of the galaxy phones. A new version of Gear was released that tackled a lot of the problems present in the older model. This VR Headset puts Samsung firmly in the VR market but how does it measure up.


Price: $59.99+

Compatible Phones: S7, S7 edge, Note5, S6 edge+, S6, S6 edge.


The first time I used this device was in Samsung store. The sales clerk was a VR enthusiast, and he was happy to walk me through the device. When I put the Samsung Gear VR on my head there was a video of a shirtless man twirling fire sticks. It was like I was there. Around him was complete darkness, and he stared me down. It was an intense experience.

The Gear is a very large headset and there is a bit of weight to it. Samsung has been trying to slim down every model and the most recent instalment is 19% lighter than the last. It is a very easy headset to put on and wear. There are only Velcro straps, but it still feels very secure on your head. This VR headset is still just a viewer for a phone, but from the build and image quality, you would never guess it. I was very surprised when the sales clerk pushed a button and pulled a Galaxy phone out of the device. There is some additional functionality built into the headset – an accelerometer, gyroscope and proximity-based sensors. There is even a small touch pad so you can control your phone without removing it from the case.

Best Tethered VR Headsets

Tethered VR headsets run off an external computer rather than holding a smart phone against your face. These headsets have screens built into them. They are a lot more expensive, but they have a lot more functionality. The video games of the future will be played on tethered VR headsets unless phones get powerful enough to overcome their current limitations.

HTC Vive

HTC’s entry into the VR headset market is an innovative piece of technology called the Vive. Unlike the competition, that use cameras to track the wearers movement, Vive uses two base stations. The idea here is room sized gameplay, to get a feel for what this is like, take a look at some of the demo videos on Vive’s website as they are pretty mind blowing.


Price: $800+

Compatibility: Vive requires a powerful PC. On their website, there is a link to a steam app that lets you test if your PC is VR ready. It will also tell you if you need to update your graphics or CPU to get it there.


The Vive is a personal favourite of mine and many reviews rate it as the best system on the market if you have the money. Their concept videos are incredible, and you are assured a pretty amazing VR experience from the Vive. The one-to-one movement tracking and a perfectly natural 110-degree field of view will likely make this the best gaming VR platform for a long time to come. The games available through SteamVR are light years ahead of anything offered by other VR platforms.

The tracking system is what makes it so much better and so much more expensive. There are 72 little sensor dots on the headset and controllers, and they accurately track your movements. All in all, this VR headset looks like an amazing bit of tech, and if you have the money.

Oculus Rift

The Oculus Rift is probably the most well-known VR Headset. It received a lot of public exposure with a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2012 that raised $2.5M USD. Only now are we seeing it approach a point where people can buy them after years of development.


Price: $599+

Compatibility: The Oculus Rift is tethered to a powerful gaming PC. How powerful, depends on what you want to run. Intel Core i5 4590 or equivalent processor, 8GB of RAM and an NVIDIA GTX 970 or AMD Radeon 290 video card are the published minimum specs.


The first time I used an Oculus Rift was at a now colleague of mine’s house. He revealed that he had a developer’s pack Oculus Rift. We played a game that convinced me VR was the space I wanted to work in. After I put the headset on, a scene loaded up that had me standing on the edge of a building with a small piece of wood that led across a large drop. It was honestly terrifying. It felt real. I knew it wasn’t, but all your life you have seen what is there, so when you see what isn’t, you end up with shaking legs afraid of falling through flat, solid ground.

It is a very comfortable headset. You could wear it for hours without complaint and the oculus touch controllers are great. They are very intuitive to use, and they give you a way to navigate in the virtual reality. Performance wise, it is a classic case of you get what you pay for. The Oculus Rift is slightly less sophisticated than the Vive, but with constant improvements and developments underway I’m excited to see where this headset goes.

PlayStation VR

PlayStation VR is the affordable way to get your hands on a VR headset with more functionality than a mobile phone can offer. With a strong gaming focus, the PlayStation VR runs off the PS4, saving gamers that already own this console a lot of money on an expensive gaming computer.

Compatibility: PS4 and PS4 Pro


Price $150+


One of the best things about the PlayStation VR is that you probably already own a lot of the accessories. PlayStation Move controllers, make it easier to navigate the virtual world and the Sony Camera also tracks your movements. It does not offer as immersive an experience as the Oculus Rift or the HTC Vive, but it is an affordable way to get your foot in the virtual door. So far, Sony has only released a handful of titles for the headset and being a console it is very locked down with no option to use it for any purposes other than those that profit Sony directly. You can’t really complain about this VR headsets limitations when Sony offers it at such an affordable price, but it really isn’t going to perform as well as the other more expensive headsets on the market.

2016 was the year of virtual reality. The technology is really starting to take off and you won’t regret buying any of these systems. The technology is only going to get better, and you could wait until it does but where is the fun in that. I wish you all the best with this new tech. I hope I helped you on your journey.

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7 Creative Uses of Virtual Reality

7 Creative Uses of Virtual Reality

Virtual reality is no longer just an escape from the real world; it has started to show its potential as a way to enhance our reality. VR creates a three-dimensional environment that the user can immerse themselves within. This empowers us to think outside the box and look for new and creative ways to solve problems. It shows great promise for many industries to train and educate their workforce to meet the needs of an ever-changing socio-economic landscape. Virtual reality offers unique and creative benefits:

1.    To Train Doctors

Medical students can use virtual simulations to better understand human anatomy. Trial and error just does not cut it in the medical care industry. Students and professionals alike can be trained to explore various surgical procedures through simulations. VR can even help simulate the health conditions of a real-life patient to reduce surgery-related risks.

2.    To Choose a Property

The Real Estate industry has started to take advantage of virtual reality. Soon prospective buyers and real estate agents will no longer need to visit a myriad of open houses to pick their favorite. VR devices enable buyers to check out various properties thoroughly and envision living in them, to make a more informed decision without having to leave their own homes.

3.    To Pick a Travel Destination

The travel industry has also started to take advantage of VR services that allow travelers to spend some time in the simulated version of a popular travel destination and get a feel for it, before deciding to spend their money. Clients can spend an hour in Hawaii or London, check out the hotels they will be staying in, then decide to hop on the plane.

4.    To Boost Sales

Incorporating VR in their marketing strategies, businesses can see notable hikes in sales and profits. Instead of just hearing about the qualities of your products and services, your clients can feel and experience them. Your workforce can sharpen their marketing skills through interacting with virtual customers.

5.    To Let Architects Design Better

Architects and designers can use virtual reality to practically inhabit a building, before any work begins on its construction. They can tweak and change any design and eliminate elements that do not work well in the simulation. The safety and adaptability of architectural structures can be ensured through VR.

6.    To Optimize Therapy

Virtual reality technologies can have sizable therapeutic benefits for patients suffering with various different ailments. Paraplegics wearing VR headsets show improved limb control. VR can help to understand and control symptoms of PTSD, depression and anxiety.

7.    To enhance Safety and Security

Virtual reality simulations help train police officers to deal with suspected criminals and diffuse the situation in an effective manner. VR can boost military training by generating simulations and scenarios of foreign environments. The technology can even help our roads safer by allowing manufacturers to make more secure cars.

These are just the 7 of many creative uses of virtual reality.

360 Video Drives Engagement and Sharing of Brand Content

360 Video Drives Engagement and Sharing of Brand Content

2016 has been a breakout year for Virtual Reality as a content marketing medium. Demand for headsets and mobile applications is expected to outstrip demand with the VR industry expected to break the $1bn barrier for the first time, according to Deloitte.

Brands across all industries are adopting virtual reality and 360 video to immerse people in their stories and increase engagement. Below is a summary of the latest insights and Case Studies on 360 video and virtual reality.


Google recently published research into 360 video versus traditional video advertising in a project with Columbia Sportswear. The project involved running two advertising campaigns, one shot in 360 video and the other in traditional video.
Both videos received equal levels of views, however the 360 video outperformed on all other measures!

  • Click through rate – 360 out performed
  • Interaction rate – 360 out performed
  • Share rate – 360 drove 41% more shares, subscribes & views of other videos
  • Total views of full length – 360 had 46% higher views
  • Social Reach – the 360 video received traffic from much wide sources (iOS messenger & WhatsApp)

Conclusion: 360 video has far higher engagement & sharing
View the Columbia Sportswear 360 video ‘Passing the Torch’


To increase awareness and generate ticket sales for Andrew Lloyd Webbers new musical, School of Rock, a 360 video was created to give fans a taste of the shows live performance.
Results from the 360 video:

  • 1M views in three days
  • 550% spike in shows website traffic the week the 360 video launched
  • 160% spike in shows ticketing website traffic

View the School of Rock 360 Video


As part of the promotion for series 6 of Game of Thrones, HBO shared a 360 video of the show’s opening sequence on Facebook.
The 360 video gave fans the chance to explore the detail of Westeros in the opening sequence like never before.
The results were huge generating 5.3 million views over a 24-hour period showing just how popular 360 video can be for brands on Facebook.
Watch the Game of Thrones 360 video here;

Media Release: Sydney Sixers Launch Virtual Reality Experience

The Sydney Sixers have launched a full HD 360 degree virtual reality video on Facebook as part of an innovative campaign to help Fans experience being part of the Big Bash League.

With access normally reserved for Players the 360 video gives fans the chance to experience one of the Big Bash Leagues most anticipated matches, the Sydney Smash between the Sydney Sixers and Sydney Thunder.

Over 420 minutes of high definition 360 video footage was recorded over two days of filming using innovative 360 video cameras and rigs to give fans a first hand experience of what it is like to be part of the Sydney Sixers.

Produced using Catalyst VR’s state of the art virtual reality production and animation the immersive experience takes fans onto the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) with the Sixers players to experience the atmosphere created by a record crowd for domestic cricket in Sydney.

Using Facebook’s new 360 video features Fans can view the full 360 video within their Facebook feed. On computers, users can drag around the video with their cursor. On mobiles they can drag with their finger or turn their device – as they move their phone around the 360 video will follow.

The Sixers Match Day Experience 360 video has had a huge response on Facebook generating over 10,000 views on Facebook in the first 48 hours.

Watch the Sydney Sixers Match Day Experience here;

Find out more about the latest virtual reality and 360 video opportunities visit;

Or contact Jessica Morrison.   +61 484 305 859

 Speak with one of our Account Managers to explore your virtual reality options, contact us.